The Most Popular Folk Song in China, Ranked

Choose the folk song you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 19, 2024 06:38
Folk songs carry the essence of cultural heritage, mirroring the values, struggles, and joys of the people within their melodies and lyrics. In China, where diverse traditions blend through its vast landscapes, understanding the popularity of various folk songs provides insights into regional sentiments and historical legacies. Through this ongoing voting system, users have the unique opportunity to affect the rankings directly, casting votes for their favored folk songs. This dynamic listing not only reflects current popular opinions but also encourages a broad engagement with China's rich musical folklore, allowing everyone to contribute to how these cultural treasures are viewed and valued today.

What Is the Most Popular Folk Song in China?

  1. 1

    Kangding Love Song

    A traditional folk song from Sichuan, known for its romantic theme and melody.
    • Region: Sichuan
    • Theme: Romance
  2. 2

    The Moon Represents My Heart

    A famous Chinese love song made popular by Teresa Teng.
    • Artist: Teresa Teng
    • Popularity: Widely recognized across China and the Chinese diaspora
  3. 3


    Another version of Mo Li Hua, often performed and adapted in various arrangements.
    • Variations: Multiple
  4. 4

    Fengyang Flower Drum

    An upbeat and rhythmic folk song from Anhui Province, often performed during celebrations.
    • Region: Anhui Province
    • Occasion: Celebrations
  5. 5

    The East Is Red

    A song that became the de facto anthem of China during the Cultural Revolution, praising Mao Zedong.
    • Era: Cultural Revolution
    • Subject: Mao Zedong
  6. 6

    Dragon Boat Melody

    A traditional song associated with the Dragon Boat Festival, highlighting its cultural significance.
    • Festival: Dragon Boat Festival
  7. 7

    Olive Tree

    A modern folk song by Chyi Yu, which has become a symbol of longing and hope.
    • Artist: Chyi Yu
    • Theme: Longing and hope
  8. 8

    Jiu Er

    A folk song reflecting the hardships and resilience of the Chinese people during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
    • Era: Second Sino-Japanese War
  9. 9

    Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower)

    A popular Chinese folk song from the Jiangnan region, celebrated both in China and abroad.
    • Origin: 18th century
    • Region: Jiangnan
  10. 10


    Yet another rendition of Jasmine Flower, showcasing the song's enduring popularity.
    • Popularity: Enduring

Missing your favorite folk song?

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular folk song in China. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or ballad is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 67 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each ballad once every 24 hours. The rank of each ballad is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Popular Folk Song in China

Folk songs hold a special place in Chinese culture. They have roots deep in the country's history. These songs often reflect the daily lives of ordinary people. They tell stories of love, work, nature, and tradition.

Chinese folk songs vary by region. Each area has its own style and themes. The north may have songs about the vast plains and harsh winters. The south might sing of rivers, rain, and green hills. Despite these differences, all share common features. They use simple melodies and repetitive structures. This makes them easy to remember and sing.

The lyrics of these songs often use vivid imagery. They paint pictures with words. A single song can describe a whole scene. Listeners can almost see the mountains, rivers, and fields. The words also carry deep emotions. Joy, sorrow, hope, and despair all find expression in these songs.

Folk songs in China often serve social functions. They can be sung at festivals, weddings, and other events. Some songs are work songs, helping people keep rhythm while they labor. Others are lullabies, soothing children to sleep. There are also songs for mourning, expressing grief and loss.

These songs have been passed down through generations. In the past, they were shared orally. People sang them while working or during gatherings. This oral tradition helped keep the songs alive. Today, many of these songs are recorded and studied. Some have been adapted into modern music. Yet, the original versions remain popular.

The simplicity of folk songs makes them accessible. Anyone can learn to sing them. They do not require formal training. This has helped them endure over time. People from all walks of life can connect with these songs. They offer a sense of continuity and belonging.

Folk songs also reflect the values of Chinese society. They emphasize harmony with nature and respect for elders. Many songs celebrate hard work and perseverance. They also highlight the importance of family and community. These themes resonate with many people.

The melodies of Chinese folk songs often use pentatonic scales. This gives them a distinctive sound. The tunes are usually straightforward. They do not have complex arrangements. This simplicity adds to their charm. The melodies can be haunting, cheerful, or soothing.

Instruments often accompany folk songs. Traditional instruments like the erhu, pipa, and guzheng add depth to the music. These instruments have unique sounds. They complement the human voice well. Together, they create a rich musical experience.

Chinese folk songs continue to be popular today. They are taught in schools and performed at cultural events. Many young people enjoy them. They see them as a link to their heritage. These songs offer a glimpse into the past. They also show the enduring spirit of the people.

In conclusion, folk songs are a vital part of Chinese culture. They reflect the lives, values, and emotions of the people. Their simple melodies and vivid lyrics make them timeless. They connect past and present, offering a sense of continuity. Today, they remain a cherished tradition, enjoyed by many.

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